NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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August 29, 2011

West Nile disease discovered in Newburyport

City to spray Wednesday

NEWBURYPORT — West Nile virus has been found in a mosquito collected in the Turkey Hill neighborhood of Newburyport, according to the city’s health department.

It’s the first finding of a West Nile-infected mosquito in Newburyport this year, according to Robert F. Bracey, Director of Public Health.

While no human cases of West Nile Virus infection have been reported in the state so far this season, West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus.  While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.

The Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control & Wetland Management District will be truck spraying Wednesday night from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm in the affected area of Turkey Hill/West End.

The City Health Department advises the following precautions for Newburyport residents to avoid mosquito bites so we don’t see any human cases of West Nile Virus:

 Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours - The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitos. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.

Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquito’s away from your skin.

Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water - Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens - Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

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